Manchester City shrugged off the disappointment of losing their Premier League crown by beating Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 on Sunday.
Having watched Chelsea secure the title earlier in the day, the 2013/14 champions held on to claim an impressive win at White Hart Lane, with Sergio Aguero opening the scoring after 29 minutes.
The Argentinian striker finished off a wonderful counter-attacking move with a crisp strike beyond Hugo Lloris – sending him two goals clear of Spurs’ Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot.
In an entertaining first period, Spurs had opportunities to level the scores, but Harry Kane shot wide of goal before Joe Hart’s smart save denied Ryan Mason from close-range.
Aguero almost doubled his tally for the afternoon but, after dancing past Lloris, the City striker’s snapshot flew wide of goal.
In second-half stoppage time, the hosts were close to a dramatic equaliser through Erik Lamela’s acrobatic bicycle kick, but an in-form Hart tipped the ball over the bar in Spurs’ final chance.
With City all-but securing their place in the top four having gone nine points clear of fifth-placed Liverpool, boss Manuel Pellegrini was quick to praise match-winner Aguero.
“He’s a very important player for us. I think that he’s in a good moment – he’s playing games in a row and not being stopped by injuries,” he told Sky Sports.
“He will continue improving because he’s just 26-years-old. Every day, he’s playing better.”
Spurs are now seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, and are 90/1 on BetVictor to finish in the top four, but full-back Danny Rose insists his side have not given up their chase for Champions League football.
“We’re all bitterly disappointed because we deserved something out of the game,” Rose told Sky Sports.
“We’re looking to get nine points out of their remaining three games now. I think we’ve shown great work-rate and attitude and need to show that in the last three games.”